Fernanda Savaris-Nunes is a Global Citizen Year Fellow spending her bridge year in Senegal. If you're a high school student stressing about college admissions, here is Fernanda's advice for you.
If the usual path taken from high school straight to college doesn’t seem sensible to you, believe me, you are not alone. There are thousands of students out there who don’t really like the idea, but too often we go along with this forced transition from one environment full of academic pressure to another just because it seems like the only option. Going straight to college may seem reasonable for some students, but if you have any doubts in your mind, then I’d recommend asking yourself a few questions:
1. Do you feel prepared to face four years of the academic responsibility necessary to do well in college?
2. Have you seen enough of the world to know what issues you really care about and to be ready to choose your major and career path?
3. Do you find that sitting in a classroom isn't enough and that experiential learning helps you really understand an master topics?
4. Do you you feel like there's a lot you want to do (learn a new language, travel the world, read more books, volunteer...), but you can't find the time because of your busy academic life?
5. Have you considered taking a bridge year?
If you’re like me, answering these questions may have made you reconsider how keen you are on going straight to college. Still, you might have apprehensions about taking an alternate route to college. For example, you might...
1. Not know what to do instead
2. Not have much money
3. Worry about what your parents would say
If this is the case, then you should know: I feel you. Or better: I was feeling you. Last year I had no idea, but all these problems do not really have to be problems. I found out some months ago that need-based scholarships for a bridge year program that focuses primarily on your development and growth is a real thing. It’s called Global Citizen Year and was invented by people just like you and me, who were eager to discover more of this huge world.
If you can imagine yourself living abroad for a whole year, discovering a new culture and learning a new language; if you can imagine yourself as a better, happier and much more interesting self and; if you can imagine yourself as a global citizen, then this is certainly your chance. Your decision to take a bridge year can take you very far (literally).
In case you are still reluctant though, there is one more question you should be asking yourself after all, and that is:
If not now, when?